Sowing Savings Program
When asked to specify the issues causing their financial concerns, an overwhelming majority of Pastors cite a lack of savings to meet life’s major expenses (e.g., retirement, medical, college tuition) and a lack of emergency funds. For most employees in the United States, these expenses are met through participation in employee benefit plans and/or an accumulation of personal savings. However, according to a recent survey, most Pastors are not offered retirement or health benefits from their churches, and very few are compensated well enough to afford significant savings. 50% of full-time pastors receive less than $50,000 per year in compensation (including a housing allowance). 17% make less than $30,000 per year.
Double Honor Foundation utilizes a unique strategy to help Pastors gain long-term financial stability. Like other charitable organizations, Double Honor provides individual grants to meet financial need. However, one-time grants do little to alleviate Pastors’ long-term financial burdens. Accordingly, Double Honor structures its grantmaking in coordination with a long-viewed savings initiative called the Sowing Savings Program. One might characterize this program as providing Pastors with the proverbial “fishing rod” instead of just a “fish.”
Through the Sowing Savings Program, a Pastor in financial need receives a grant in an amount that matches (dollar-for-dollar, up to an annual maximum) the Pastor's personal contributions to his/her own dedicated investment savings account.
Double Honor’s grant is either deposited directly into the Pastor's investment savings account, and/or directly paid against the Pastor's outstanding student loan debt (thereby enabling the Pastor to save). Double Honor’s grantmaking approach not only incentivizes Pastors to save, but also makes them an active partner in building their own financial self-sufficiency.
It is Double Honor's hope and goal that each Pastor will, over time, build long-term financial stability. Accordingly, a Pastor’s grant may be renewed annually if the Pastor continues to meet Double Honor’s criteria for an individual grant and has applied and maintained all previous grants from Double Honor in a manner consistent with our purposes.
A Pastor may withdraw any and all funds from their dedicated investment savings account at their discretion, however, Double Honor encourages its participating Pastors to limit withdrawals to the sole purpose of meeting of major life expenses. Should a Pastor withdraw funds for other purposes, that Pastor is not eligible for additional grants from Double Honor until those funds have been repaid to the dedicated investment savings account by the Pastor.
Double Honor reserves the right to make the final determination on what constitutes a “major life expense”, however acceptable purposes for withdrawals generally include: retirement, loss of primary full-time job, child college expenses, major unanticipated medical expenses, and primary home purchases.